Wednesday of the First Week in Lent
(Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32)
The gospels record that Jesus performed many healings. They also testify that he drove out many devils. It may be asked then why do the people in today’s passage ask a sign of Jesus to prove his legitimacy. Perhaps they want a sign “on demand.” But that would be humans’ mandating the divine when the dynamic is meant to go the other way. Nevertheless, Jesus offers them a sign of sorts.
Jesus tells the people that they will have the “sign of Jonah.” In Luke’s gospel this does not mean being buried three days as Matthew’s. The sign here is a preaching more compelling than one that moved millions – men and beasts alike -- to repentance. Perhaps the people in Jesus’ day would say something like they do in ours. For them Jesus’ preaching, which in this gospel includes the parables of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, is only “interesting.”
We have many reasons to follow Jesus. His miracles, his teaching, as well as his preaching all point to a divine origin. But the main reason we believe in Jesus is his crucifixion on our behalf together with his resurrection. By it we have received every kind of grace. Cross and resurrection provide us a model to emulate, a goal to anticipate, and a support along the way.